Gin Paragliders is located in Youngin City in the province of Kyunggi-Do, South Korea. Gin has a reputation for placing the pilots of its performance wings on the podium at major competitions. Perhaps it is not surprising that a great paragliding manufacturer has emerged from South Korea. Just check out the page on South Korea, in the Where to Paraglide section of this site.
A trio of paragliding experts form the heart of the company, headed by Gin Seok, hence the company name. They are all active pilots, and have been working together for over 10 years. Actually, to be correct, the company is called Gin Gliders.
As an Australian, I couldn't believe it when I first saw 'Gin Boomerang' in print. 'Boomerang' made me assume it was an Australian company, and 'Gin' is a very tasteless term that would never be used by any decent Australian. After a bit more research I discovered that it was an innocently named Korean glider!
Like any other world-class paraglider manufacturer, Gin Paragliders looks around for the very best quality materials. For example, webbing for the brake handles and risers of Gin gliders are imported from France at 3 times the cost of locally made ones. Just for the sake of quality. For anything that actually holds you up while airborne, that has to give you a nice feeling!
Gin Paragliders considers that the best available thread comes from Germany. Thread? Is that really important? You bet. The company was getting reports of external stitching damage on their paragliders. Dragging the canopy over rough surfaces, for example at a rocky launch site, will speed up this kind of wear and tear. Apparently the German thread helped canopies last longer.
But great materials aren't enough for getting a performance edge. Gin Seok and his team have some pretty heavy-duty resources at hand. For example, an aerodynamics professor from the Korean Air Force Academy has started helping them out on theoretical issues.
Now, a basic new design crafted via computer software by good designers will fly perfectly well with no modifications. But does it feel right? Is it really as good as it can be? Gin Seok really believes in extensive flying and altering of his prototypes, regardless of how strong the 'off the computer' design might be. He keeps going until the paraglider handles exactly like he imagined it would.
Gin Seok has an interesting philosophy when it comes to pilots selecting an appropriate paraglider to own and fly. If you know a little about paragliding already, you probably know about the process of learners starting on DHV-1 wings, then progressing to DHV-1/2 when they have more hours and so on. Really talented and experienced pilots fly in comps with awesome, scary DHV-3 canopies.
But hang on, the Gin Paragliders view is that the amount of flying a pilot gets on a regular basis is the most important factor. So it's ok for the comp pilot to fly comp wings if he is flying several times a week and racking up say 150 hours each year. But an experienced pilot who only gets out once every month or so for a few hours of air time per year will never have those finely-honed skills. According to Gin, he should stick with an easier glider!
It does make sense, particularly when you consider the smaller than ever performance gap between paragliders rated at different levels these days. You can learn, even fly cross-country once in a while, and never actually need anything 'better' than a DHV-1/2 canopy.